Microsoft Vs. Google: A Look At The Cloud Computing Customer Win War

Cloud Computing Customer Tit-For-Tat

One of the main cloud computing story lines of 2010 was the contentious cloud competition between two tech top dogs: Google and Microsoft. And it's a kerfuffle that will continue through 2011.

The duo battled for features and functions, productivity apps, cloud-based e-mail services and myriad other cloud computing components.

Google and Microsoft were also very quick to showcase their cloud computing victories as each looks to outdo or one-up the other with high profile customer wins. Here, we take a look at some of the key cloud computing customer wins Google and Microsoft have made and what they're all about.

Microsoft Snags SUNY

Microsoft closed out 2010 with the snagging of the State University of New York (SUNY), which signed a university-wide agreement to make Microsoft Live@edu's suite of cloud-based communications and collaboration tools available on its 64 campuses across the state of New York. The roughly 500,000 SUNY students statewide will have access to Microsoft's cloud-based e-mail, calendars, storage, Office Web Apps, instant messaging, document sharing and videoconferencing. At the start, 70,000 SUNY students are taking the Microsoft Live@edu plunge.

Monroe Community College (MCC) is among the first SUNY school to deploy the cloud services to its 19,000 students and the school expects that using Microsoft Live@edu will save the college $600,000 over the next five years while also reducing the school's dependency on printing, paper, toner and envelopes.

Google Gets The GSA

In what is being heralded as the first agency-wide federal cloud e-mail deployment, Google in December signed on the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) to its Google Apps for Government cloud computing offering. Google beat out Microsoft for the GSA deal, which Google said will move 17,000 GSA employees and contractors to Google's cloud and is expected to save the GSA $15 million over a five-year stretch.

Microsoft Is USDA Graded

In December, Microsoft announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is migrating its infrastructure to its cloud computing offerings for its Enterprise Messaging Service (EMS) which comprises e-mail, Web conferencing, document collaboration and instant messaging.

The USDA is the first Cabinet-level agency to move its e-mail and collaboration applications to the cloud and the USDA/Microsoft deal will consolidate 120,000 users spread across 21 e-mail systems. It is estimated the USDA cloud deal hits $27 million. The sale was led by Dell, which is offering Microsoft Online Services cloud computing tools, such as Microsoft Exchange Online for messaging and calendaring, Microsoft Office SharePoint Online for document collaboration, Microsoft Office Communications Online for instant messaging and Microsoft Office Live Meeting for Web conferencing.

NYU Gets Cloudy With Google

While Microsoft got the cloud bragging rights for SUNY schools, Google bagged a big fish with New York University (NYU), which in November signed on to move the entire university to Google Apps for Education for e-mail and collaboration. NYU's leap into the cloud will move more than 60,000 students, staff and faculty onto Google Apps to leverage tools like Gmail, Calendar, Docs and Sites.

It will bring all of NYU's 18 schools, including the medical, dental and law schools, together onto one cloud computing platform. Google and NYU estimate that moving to a Google cloud computing environment will save the university about $400,000 per year by eliminating its need to buy, upgrade and maintain mail servers and software licenses for clunky on-premise systems.

Microsoft Loves The Big Apple

Microsoft signed on the City that Never Sleeps in a cloud computing and license consolidation deal that could save New York City $50 million over five years.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and NYC Mayer Michael Bloomberg unveiled the partnership in a City Hall press conference in October. The five-year deal gives Microsoft the reins of New York City's IT infrastructure, which is utilized by more than 100,000 employees. The deal will standardize all of the city's agencies on Microsoft's platforms. The first wave of the rollout will move roughly 30,000 city employees to Microsoft's Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) of cloud apps, which was recently rebranded as Office 365, while some employees will be moved to the Deskless Worker version of BPOS, which costs less per seat than the full BPOS suite.

Google Takes To The Skies With Virgin America

Virgin America, the up-and-coming airline, made the move to Google and Google Apps in 2010. The move to the cloud put the airline's 1,700 North America-based employees on Google Apps for Gmail, Calendar, Docs and Google Talk. While not a huge migration, the move is expected to cut Virgin America's e-mail system spending by about half on an annual basis while also saving them more than 18 terabytes of space by moving to the cloud. Virgin America's Google Apps cloud computing deployment was spearheaded by SADA Systems, a North Hollywood solution provider.

Microsoft's Wildcat Win

Education is clearly a big deal for Microsoft and its cloud computing offerings. In May, Microsoft was delighted to reveal that it had won the cloud computing contract for the University of Arizona, home of the Wildcats. The deal moved 18,000 faculty and staff members to Microsoft's Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) for communication and collaboration. Microsoft updated the university's aging and outdated e-mail system and calendaring to a centralized system where users get 10-GB mailboxes and features like IM, presence and online meetings.

Following the faculty and staff move, the University of Arizona also plans to give students the option to sign up for a Windows Live ID on Microsoft's Live@edu service for Office Web Apps and Windows Live SkyDrive, along with other cloud computing services.

Oregon Schools Gobble Up Google

In May, the state of Oregon marked the first state to offer Google Apps for Education to its public schools. According to Google, the Oregon Department of Education offers Google Apps to all school districts in the state, giving elementary, middle and high schools access to Gmail, Docs, Sites, Video and Groups. Google and the Oregon Department of Education estimated the move to Google Apps and cloud computing will save the Department of Education $1.5 million per year.

DuPont Ditches Lotus Notes For Microsoft

DuPont, the Wilmington, Del.-based company, announced in October that it would replace its existing Lotus Notes environment in favor of Microsoft's BPOS. The move, DuPont and Microsoft said, will give the company greater collaboration capabilities among its global employee base, which tops 58,000 in roughly 80 countries. The cloud computing migration also helps DuPont employees collaborate with more than 1 million partners, suppliers and contracts through a secure extranet based on SharePoint Online.

Google Beats Microsoft In L.A.

In one of the biggest cloud brush-offs to date, the city of Los Angeles dissed Microsoft and sided with Google for a cloud computing system for its 30,000 municipal employees. The deal was worth more than $7 million and would have channel partners CSC move the city from Novel GroupWise to Google Apps. The project, which is still ongoing, missed a few key deadlines over security concerns voiced by the Los Angeles Police Department, but Google said it is back on track.

The L.A. deal was one of the most visible cloud computing wins in the continuing cloud computing competition between Google and Microsoft.